Hundreds are expected to flock to Washington, D.C. this summer to protest so-called “white civil rights” on the one-year anniversary of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
The National Park Service approved an application for the upcoming rally to be held outside the White House near D.C.’s Lafayette Square, local station WUSA9 reported. The two-day event is scheduled for Aug. 11-12, but no permits have been issued as of yet.
“This year we have a new purpose,” event organizer Jason Kessler told the news station. “That’s to talk about the civil rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.”
Last year’s “Unite the Right” rally made national headlines after a group of torch-wielding white supremacists descended on Charlottesville to protest cities’ removal of Confederate monuments. The event turned violent as white nationalists and counter-protesters clashed in the streets, leading to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was run down by a neo-Nazi sympathizer.
Kessler, who helped co-organized last year’s deadly rally, pointed the finger at counter-protesters for “that stuff that happened” arguing it wasn’t his group’s fault that violence broke out. He’s reportedly working with police, NPS and laying out rules to ensure things stay safe this time around.
He went on to claim that the folks who attended his rally last year were “victimized,” and that this year, they’re organizing to protect what he called “white civil rights.”
“We’re not able to peacefully assemble,” Kessler said. “We’re not able to speak … This [rally] is about white people and standing up for our rights.”
Tracye Red of Black Lives Matter begs to differ, however.
“I keep telling people if your right to rally and your right to protest means that someone else’s life might be in danger, then it is no longer free speech but it is hate speech,” Redd told WUSA9.
Kessler initially submitted a permit to have the rally return to Charlottesville, but it was denied. He has since sued the city over the decision.